Four more Boeing 787s and 25 Embraer E175s
Published 2:13 p.m. UTC Jul 17, 2018
United Airlines is buying four more Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 25 more Embraer E175 jets as the carrier looks to update its fleet with newer, fuel-efficient planes.
United says the new Dreamliners – the 787-9 variant – will help it phase out older widebody jets in its fleet. The 787-9s are the longest range of Boeing’s three Dreamliner variants. The jets included in the latest order will be delivered with the carrier’s new “Polaris” business-class seats.
United already has about three dozen Dreamliners in its fleet. Of those, 12 are smaller Boeing 787-8 variants and the others 787-9s. United also had previously ordered 14 787-10s, the biggest Dreamliner variant. United has said it expects to have three of those in its fleet by the end of 2018.
“These new 787 aircraft are another step in our widebody replacement strategy, and we will continue to roll out new announcements in the future as we implement our comprehensive fleet plan,” Gerry Laderman, United’s senior vice president of finance and acting chief financial officer, said in a Monday statement about the latest order.
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United did not specify what aircraft the newest 787s would help it replace. However, reports in May suggested United was in talks with both Boeing and Airbus for a purchase that would help it replace the roughly 50 Boeing 767s currently in its fleet. (More: Report: United looking to replace Boeing 767 widebody jets)
As for the Embraer order, United says the 25 E-175 jets will replace 25 Bombardier CRJ-700 that are operated by its United Express affiliates. United’s existing Embraer E175s flying for its regional partners are configured with 76 seats while its CRJ-700s seat 70.
However, FlightGlobal reports “United will take the SC variant (of the E175), which is configured with 70 seats instead of the US standard of 76 seats.”
That’s apparently raised some concern among United’s pilots union, which — according to the FlightGlobal report — has called for the new E175s to be brought into mainline flying instead of being placed with a United Express affiliate.
“This aircraft is designed to hold over 80 seats and will be flown to outsourced express carriers in the 70-seat configuration,” the United chapter of ALPA says to FlightGlobal. “Revenue plummets and costs skyrocket. Bringing this flying back to mainline United Airlines will lower costs, increase revenue, and allow United to once again control its product.”
The first of the new Embraers will begin arriving next year while the first of the newly ordered 787s are scheduled to be delivered in 2020.
United’s announcement overlapped with the biennial Farnborough Airshow in England where both Boeing and Airbus have claimed a number of new aircraft orders. (More: Farnborough 2018: Boeing, Airbus rack up orders as giant airshow opens)
Reuters adds additional context on Monday’s orders, noting the deal “was previously listed as unidentified in Boeing’s backlog.” It would have a value of $1.1 billion at list prices, though carriers typically receive substantial discounts on such orders.
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